I’ve just dug an old Euonymus fortunei shrub out of my garden and it was hard work! I moved into my house 10 months ago and in the spring decided to redo my back garden, which was overrun with old and woody shrubs and trees. With the advice of one friend and some help and the chainsaw of another, most of the back of the garden was cleared and replanting started. I don’t know why we decided to leave this plant in place; it has been an eyesore in the newly blossoming garden, so I decided to dig it out. It was well-established and stubborn and, after much digging, I thought I might have to give up and ask for help. However, I decided to have one more try and worked my way slowly and persistently around the plant, loosening the roots with my fork, until eventually I felt it move and I was able to pull it out and dig out the remaining roots.
As I cleared up afterwards I was reminded of a conversation I’d had the previous evening. I was widowed 5 years ago and, as my children had also left home, I’ve found adjusting to living on my own difficult. I’ve talked some of the practical and emotional challenges through with the pastor and his wife and it has been a gradual adjustment. I was regularly assured that, as I became more comfortable with the introvert part of myself, I would become more comfortable with living alone – after all, if you don’t really know or like part of who you are, you aren’t going to be comfortable living with yourself! At first I didn’t really understand that or see how it could happen or make a difference. However, I decided to trust what was being said to me and continue on the journey of understanding and accepting my introvert.
In the conversation on Monday evening I was able to say that I’m happy with my life as it is now and that I’m not just ‘OK’ living on my own but that I actually enjoy it. I enjoy having people to stay and visit for meals and I love spending time with my family and friends, but I’m equally happy with my own company. I realise that this is because I’m comfortable with all of who I am, both my introvert and extrovert, so living alone doesn’t feel such a challenge any more. The wise advice I was given has come to fruition. However, it’s not been easy and, rather like digging out that stubborn shrub, I’ve had to persist when I haven’t felt like I was getting anywhere and have been tempted to give up. I’ve also had to be ruthless in digging out the roots of the negatives that resided inside me. I’ve kept going, sharing my struggles and my feelings and choosing to believe the positive things that were said to me, and the negatives are gradually being dislodged. When I look out at my garden I see a wide-open space waiting to be filled with colourful new plants. Similarly, there is space in my heart for God to fill with his goodness and his plans for me.